New Hubble telescope images of Jupiter taken this summer show the planet’s famous Great Red Dot and some of the most intense colors in the cloud bands that circle the planet that scientists have seen.
The colorful bands are created by differences in the thickness and height of the ammonia ice clouds above the plant. They flow in opposite directions at various latitudes because of different atmospheric pressures. Lighter bands rise higher and have thicker clouds than the darker bands.[embedded content]
The red spot is a high-pressure wind system turning counterclockwise like an anti-cyclone. It is as wide as the Earth and has been shrinking in size since the 1800s, NASA says. No one knows why.
This image was taken in visible light when Jupiter was 400 million miles from Earth. It was near the point called “opposition” where Jupiter is almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky. Read more about the latest images and what scientists believe they show here.